BJP president J.P. Nadda | Photo: ANI
BJP president J.P. Nadda | ANI
Text Size:

New Delhi: After a face-off over Covid “mismanagement”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Modi government look headed for yet another showdown — this time over District Development Coordination Monitoring Committees, termed as DISHA, ThePrint has learnt.

DISHAs, which function under the rural development ministry, have been formed to ensure better coordination among all the elected representatives in Parliament, state legislatures and local governments (panchayati raj institutions, municipal bodies) for efficient and time-bound development. The monitoring committees were first set up in 1985, but renamed as DISHA in 2016.

DISHAs primarily take stock of the implementation of central schemes in states, and committees are supposed to be formed in every district. They are headed by MPs, who act as chairpersons, while district magistrate (DMs) function as the secretary.

The latest flashpoint is over complaints made by Bengal BJP MPs — during a meeting Friday with party national president J.P. Nadda — that there have been no meetings under the DISHA initiative in their districts since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In Bengal, the BJP has 18 Lok Sabha MPs and most of them were present during the virtual meeting.

A BJP MP, who took part in the meeting, told ThePrint that MPs have told Nadda that under Mamata’s instructions, no district magistrate (DM) ever called them for DISHA meetings.

“Some MPs said they don’t even know if DISHA committees exist in their districts,” the MP said.

The parliamentarians also alleged that district magistrates never cooperate with them or call them for any public events or functions. 

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.


BJP leaders said they have raised the matter with the DMs in the past, but that hadn’t yielded any results.

The above-mentioned MP said Nadda, after hearing the complaints, told the MPs to gherao such DMs, who don’t pay heed to their concerns, but in a peaceful manner.

Also read: Bengal BJP goes to town over Mamata ‘fudging Covid numbers, PDS scandal’, starts survey

‘Mamata wants to hide things’

A second BJP MP told ThePrint that Babul Supriyo, Asansol MP and a Union minister, was among those who raised the matter during the meeting, which was held by Nadda to take stock of the situation in Bengal in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan and also in view of the rising Covid-19 cases.

“We don’t know whether DISHA committees have been formed in the state or not. In every other state, these committees are holding meetings, but in Bengal, there is no committee, no meeting, no implementation of central schemes,” said Hembram Kumar, MP from Jhargram.

“We have written several letters to DMs, but they don’t respond. This is a bizarre state. In adjoining Odisha, (DISHA) committees are working despite a different state government there. We have urged Naddaji to take action in the matter,” he added.

Locket Chatterjee, BJP MP from Hooghly, told ThePrint since 2019 Lok Sabha elections, “there has been no call for meetings”.

“We have written several letters to the CM and DMs, but they fear if such meetings take place, we will ask details of (central) schemes implemented at panchayat levels, block levels, and the money spent (on schemes). Mamata doesn’t want transparency. She wants to hide things because there is rampant corruption and ‘cut-money’ involved. She doesn’t want any scrutiny…” she added.

‘Gherao DMs’

The first BJP MP mentioned above said Nadda told MPs if DMs don’t acknowledge their concerns, they could gherao them, but peacefully. He also said he would take this up with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

During the Parliament session in March, 18 BJP MPs had met Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to apprise him of this matter.

Following this, the ministry had even sent a letter to Mamata, asking her to hold DISHA meetings, said Chatterjee.

In another session last year, Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury had raised the matter in the Lok Sabha. He had said DISHA meetings were not happening in Bengal, after which Speaker Om Birla had asked the state’s chief secretary to convene such meetings.

“Since 2012, there have been no meetings under DISHA. I am the chairperson of the DISHA committee (of my district). I have written to both Centre and Mamata, but in vain. Under Mamata regime, there is no transparency, no meetings take place involving opposition leaders,” Chowdhury, an MP from Berhampore, told ThePrint.

The ruling Trinamool Congress, however, dismissed all the allegations, saying the BJP is trying to defame the state government.

“In our district, there is a (DISHA) committee and meetings take place as per schedule. BJP MPs are only trying to defame the state government. If in any district, there is a problem, they should talk to the district magistrate first,” Dibyendu Adhikari, TMC MP from Tamluk constituency in Purba Medinipur district, told ThePrint.

Also read: Mamata is invoking Bengali pride again — her new ‘strategy’ to counter Covid flak


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

1 Comment Share Your Views



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here